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  1. Design & Illustration
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Design

How to Create a 404 Error Page in Adobe Illustrator

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Difficulty:BeginnerLength:MediumLanguages:
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

In the following steps you will learn how to create a simple 404 error page in Adobe Illustrator. 

For starters you will learn how to setup a simple grid and how to create the main shapes using basic tools, the Appearance panel and the Live Corners feature. 

Next, you will learn how to add some sleek dividers using a simple path, a Drop Shadow effect and some basic masking techniques. Moving on you will learn how to create the search field and the four yellow buttons using mainly the Appearance panel. Taking full advantage of the Snap to Gird feature and using basic vector shape building techniques and some basic stroke features your will learn how to create the three little icons. 

Finally, you will learn how to create the simple tooltips and how to add a bunch of text.

1. Create a New Document and Set Up a Grid

Hit Control-N to create a new document. Select Pixels from the Units drop-down menu, enter 600 in the width box and 680 in the height box then click on the Advanced button. Select RGB, Screen (72ppi) and make sure that the Align New Objects to Pixel Grid box is unchecked before you click OK

Enable the Grid (View > Show Grid) and the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). For starters you will need a grid every 5px, so simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides > Grid, enter 5 in the Gridline every box and 1 in the Subdivisions box. Try not to get discouraged by all that grid, it will ease your work and keep in mind that you can easily enable or disable it using the Control-" keyboard shortcut. 

You should also open the Info panel (Window > Info) for a live preview with the size and position of your shapes. Do not forget to set the unit of measurement to pixels from Edit > Preferences > Units > General. All these options will significantly increase your work speed.

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2. Create the Main Shapes

Step 1

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and focus on your Toolbar. Remove the color from the stroke then select the fill and set its color at R=252 G=186 B=186. Move to your artboard and simply create a 275 x 400px rectangle, the Snap to Grid should ease your work.

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Step 2

Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), reselect your yellow rectangle, focus on the control panel and simply enter "10px" in that Corners box. This should turn your rectangle into a rounded rectangle as shown in the following image.

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Step 3

Make sure that your rounded rectangle stays selected, focus on the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance), select the stroke and set its color at R=232 G=146 B=0. Keep focusing on the Appearance panel and simply click on the "Stroke" piece of text to open the Stroke fly-out panel. Set the Weight at 1px and check the Align Stroke to Inside button.

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Step 4

Make sure that your rounded rectangle is still selected, focus on the Appearance panel and add a second stroke using the Add New Stroke button (pointed by the blue circle in the following image). Select this new stroke, set its color at black (R=0 G=0 B=0) and check the Align Stroke to Outside button from the Stroke fly-out panel. 

Keep focusing on this new stroke and simply click on the "Opacity" piece of text to open the Transparency fly-out panel as shown in the following image. Change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and lower the Opacity to 5%.

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Step 5

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 275 x 80px shape, set the fill color at black and place it as shown in the first image. Make sure that this new shape stays select, lower its Opacity to 20% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light

Switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the two anchor points highlighted in the first image, focus on the control panel and simply enter "10px" in that Corners box. In the end things should look like in the second image.

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Step 6

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 275 x 80px shape, set the fill color at black and place it as shown in the first image. Make sure that this new rectangles stays selected, lower its Opacity to 10% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

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Step 7

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 275 x 75px shape, set the fill color at black and place it as shown in the first image. Make sure that your new rectangle is selected, lower its Opacity to 5% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

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3. Create the Three Dividers

Step 1

For this step you will need a grid every 1px, so go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 1 in the Gridline every box. Using the Pen Tool (P), create a 273px, horizontal path. Place it exactly as shown in the following image and add a 1px stroke with the color set at R=232 G=146 B=0.

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Step 2

Next, you need to make sure that your horizontal path is perfectly aligned to the pixel grid. Reselect it and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Drag the Move-Vertical slider at -0.5px and click OK

Enable the Pixel Preview (View > Pixel Preview) then have a look at your path with and without the Transform affect to understand exactly how things change. Make sure that your horizontal path is still selected and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK.

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Step 3

Return to gridline every 5px, so simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 5 in the Gridline every box. Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 275 x 10px shape, make sure that it has no color set for the stroke then select the fill. 

Open the Gradient panel (Window > Gradient) and simply click on the gradient thumbnail to add the default black to white linear gradient. Make sure that your shape stays selected and keep focusing on the Gradient panel. Set the Angle at 0 degrees then select the black gradient slider and replace the existing color with white (R=255 G=255 B=255). Focus on the gradient bar and simply click on it to add a new gradient slider. Select this new slider, set its color at black, focus on the Location box (from the Gradient panel) and set it at 50%

Keep in mind that the white numbers from the Gradient images stand for Location percentage. Reselect the rectangle made in this step along with your horizontal path, open the Transparency panel (Window > Transparency) and simply click the Make Mask button. In the end your masked path should look like in the third image.

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Step 4

Duplicate your masked path (Control-C > Control-F), select the copy and simply drag it 80px up. Make sure that your copy stays selected, focus on the Transparency panel, select the mask and replace the existing linear gradient with the one shown in the following image. Remember that the white numbers from the Gradient image stand for Location percentage. In the end your new path should look like in the following image.

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Step 5

Duplicate your top, masked path (Control-C > Control-F), select the copy and simply drag it 75px up. Make sure that your copy stays selected, focus on the Transparency panel, select the mask and replace the existing linear gradient with the one shown in the following image. In the end your new path should look like in the following image.

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4. Create the Search Field and the Four Buttons

Step 1

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 145 x 30px shape, set the fill color at R=232 G=146 B=0 and place it as shown in the following image. Make sure that this new rectangle stays selected, focus on the Appearance panel, select the existing fill and go to Effect > Sylize > Inner Glow. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK.

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Step 2

Make sure that the rectangle made in the previous step stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Add a 1px stroke, set the color at black, align it to inside, lower the Opacity to 20% and change its Blending Mode to Soft Light. Keep focusing on the Appearance panel, make sure that your entire path is selected (simply click on the "Path" piece of text from the top of the Appearance panel) and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 3px Radius, click OK and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK.

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Step 3

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 65 x 30px shape, set the fill color at R=253 G=218 B=47 and place it as shown in the following image.

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Step 4

Make sure that your yellow rectangle stays selected, focus on the Appearance panel and add a second fill using the Add New Fill button (pointed by the blue circle in the following image). Select this new fill, set its color at R=252 G=206 B=23 and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the properties shown in the following image (make sure that your check the middle, bottom reference point), click OK and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the attributes shown in the left window (in the following image), click OK and go again to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the properties shown in the right window and click OK.

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Step 5

Reselect your yellow rectangle and add a third fill using that same Add New Fill button. Select this new fill, drag it in the bottom of the Appearance panel and add the linear gradient shown in the following image. Keep in mind that the yellow zero from the Gradient image stands for Opacity percentage. This simply means that you need to select your gradient slider and enter that "0" in the Opacity box from the Gradient panel. 

Return to the Appearance panel, make sure that the fill added in this step is still selected and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and return to the Appearance panel. Select the entire path and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 3px Radius and click OK.

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Step 6

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create three, 30px squares and place them as shown in the following image. 

Next, you need to copy the properties used for the yellow rectangle and paste them onto the three squares made in this step. Simply go to the Layers panel, focus on the right side and you'll notice that every shape comes with a little grey circle. It's called a target icon. Hold the Alt button from your keyboard, click on the target icon that stands for your yellow rectangle and drag onto the circle that stands for one of your three squares. Repeat this techniques for the other two squares. In the end things should look like in the second image.

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5. Create the Three Tiny Icons

Step 1

Switch to gridline every 1px, so go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 1 in the Gridline every box. Pick the Pen Tool (P), create an 11px, horizontal path, make sure that it stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Add a 4px stroke, set its color at R=232 G=146 B=0 then open the Stroke fly-out panel and check the Round Cap button. In the end your path should look like in the following image.

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Step 2

Pick the Pen Tool (P), create an 8px, vertical path, place it as shown in the first image and add that same 4px, orange stroke used for the horizontal path. Make sure that your vertical path is selected and go to Object > Path > Add Anchor Points. Switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the newly added anchor point and simply drag it 5px to the left as shown in the third image.

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Step 3

Reselect the to paths that make up your orange arrow and go to Object > Path > Outline Stroke. Select the resulting shapes, open the Pathfinder panel and click the Unite button.

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Step 4

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create an 18 x 17px shape and set the fill color at R=232 G=146 B=0. Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), select this new rectangle, focus on the control panel and simply enter "3px" in that Corners box.

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Step 5

Using the Pen Tool (P), create two simple path as shown in the first two images. Select both paths and focus on the Appearance panel. Make sure that there is no color set for the fill then select the stroke, set its color at R=253 G=218 B=12 and the Weight at 2px. Reselect both paths made in this step and click the Outline button from the Pathfinder panel. Make sure that the resulting group of paths is selected and simply hit Shift-Control-G to Ungroup it. Reselect all those paths and add again that 2px, yellow stroke. Select only the tiny path highlighted in the fourth image and remove it using the Delete button from your keyboard.

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Step 6

Reselect the yellow paths highlighted in the first image and go to Object > Path > Outline Stroke. Select the resulting shapes and click the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel. Select this newly created shape along with your orange, rounded rectangle and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Select the resulting group of orange shape and simply hit Control-8 to turn it into a simple compound path. Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), select your fresh compound path, focus on the control panel and simply enter "0.5px" in that Corners box.

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Step 7

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 12 x 11px shape and set the fill color at R=232 G=146 B=0 and go to Object > Path > Add Anchor Points. Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the anchor point highlighted in the second image and simply drag it 5px up.

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Step 8

Using the Pen Tool (P), create a simple path as shown in the first image, make sure that it stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Remove the color from the fill then select the stroke. Set the color at R=232 G=146 B=0 and the Weight at 3px then go to Object > Path > Outline Stroke. Switch to the Rectangle Tool (M), create an 2 x 5px shape, set the fill color at R=232 G=146 B=0 and place it as shown in the second image. Reselect the three orange shapes that make up your little home icon and click the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel.

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Step 9

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 2 x 5px shape and place it as shown in the first image. Select this new rectangle along with the orange shape that makes up your house icon and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the resulting shape, focus on the control panel and simply enter "1px" in that Corners box.

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Step 10

Reselect the three shapes that make up your little icons, place them as shown in the following image then go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK.

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6. Add the Text

Step 1

Pick the Type Tool (T) and open the Character panel (Window > Type > Character). Simply click on your artboard, add the "ERROR" piece of text and set its color at R=172 G=68 B=0. Use the Open Sans font, make it Bold then set the size at 14px and the tracking at 900px. Make sure that your piece of text is still selected and place it as shown in the following image. Reselect the Type Tool (T), add the "Search" and the "or" pieces of text, place them as shown below and use the text attributes shown in the following windows.

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Step 2

Make sure that the Type Tool (T) is still active, add some new pieces of text as shown below and use the attributes shown in the following image.

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Step 3

Reselect all pieces of text made so far and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK.

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Step 4

Using the Type Tool (T), add the "404" and set its color at R=252 G=206 B=23. Use the same font, make it Bold, set the size at 90px then place this new piece of text as shown in the following image.

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Step 5

Make sure that your "404" piece of text is still selected and add the three Drop Shadow effects shown in the following image (Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow).

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7. Create the Tooltips

Step 1

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 65 x 25px shape, se the fill color at R=60 G=36 B=21 and place it as shown in the following image.

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Step 2

Make sure that your brown rectangle stays selected, focus on the Appearance panel, select the existing fill and duplicate it using the Duplicate Selected Item button (pointed by the blue circle in the following image). Select the new fill and go to Effect > Convert to Shape > Rectangle. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the attributes shown below and click OK.

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Step 3

Reselect your brown shape, focus on the Appearance panel, make sure that the entire path is selected and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK.

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Step 4

Using the Type Tool (T), add your "Go Back" piece of text, set the color at R=172 G=68 B=0 and place it as shown in the following image. Use that same Open Sans font, make it Bold and set the size at 11px. Reselect this yellow piece of text along with your brown shape and simply hit Control-G to Group them.

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Step 5

Duplicate the group that makes up your little tooltip (Control-C > Control-F), select the copy and place it as shown in the first image. Focus on the yellow piece of text and replace the existing text with "Go Home". Repeat this technique and add the third tooltip as shown in the second image. Replace the existing piece of text with "Contact Us" and increase the width of that brown shape to 75px.

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8. Add the Background and Some Subtle Shading

Step 1

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and simply click on your artboard to open the Rectangle window. Enter 610 in the Width box and 690 in the Height box then click the OK button. Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected and set its color at R=35 G=31 B=32. Next, you will need to center it, so open the Align panel (Window > Align). Set the aligning to Artboard (open the fly out menu and go to Show Options if you can't see the Align To section as shown in the following image), make sure that your shape is selected then simply click the Horizontal Align Center and Vertical Align Center buttons. In the end your square should cover the entire artboard as shown in the following image. Finally, simply hit Shift-Control- [ to send your dark rectangle to back.

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Step 2

Reselect the main, yellow rectangle, focus on the Appearance panel, make sure that the entire path is selected and add the four Drop Shadow effects shown in the following image.

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Congratulations! You're Done!

Here is how it should look. I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial and can apply these techniques in your future projects.

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