The Unsent Project Reveals Moving Text Messages People Never Sent (2024)

How many times have you typed out a heartfelt message to someone only to delete it or never hit send?

This has happened to each and every one of us and the feeling certainly isn’t good. To show people that they’re not alone, Rora Blue started The Unsent Project.

Rora Blue is a queer disabled conceptual artist that lives and works in Nevada, US. Blue produces artwork that is defined by color, text, and interactivity. The majority of Blue's work relies heavily on color which is used to communicate a feeling to the viewer. Her artistic statement says, "I have always thought that some feelings are so big they can only exist as a color... My work has this duality of being an outlet of expression for myself but also for other people who need it."


Blue is a recipient of the VSA Emerging Young Artist Award of Excellence from the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington D.C and her work has been exhibited in nine different countries. She received her BFA in New Genres from the San Francisco Art Institute. She has been featured in many media outlets including The New York Times, Good Morning America, Huffington Post, and Cosmopolitan.

She began the Unsent Project in 2015 and according to the website it was created "to figure out what color people see love in."

What is The Unsent Project?

The Unsent Project is a combination of both a website and physical collages that showcase over 40,000 unsent text messages.


Each text was initially meant for the sender's first love. However, first love doesn’t necessarily mean a boyfriend or girlfriend. It more so means the first person, or animal, to show you love or that you truly loved first. This person could be a family member, an ex, an old best friend, etc.

The messages are coded by the color of the submitter's choosing in order to help interpret what color people see love in. Each color represents the emotion that the sender associates with the message. The project shows the correlation people make with color and emotion as well as the endless feeling we never expressed.

You can search through the messages on the website by color or by name. If you click on the achieve tab at the top of the home page you will see the option to select a color, you can then continue our search that way. However, if you’re looking for something more specific, you can go to the search bar at the top of the page and type in a name directly.

Be patient, there are tons of messages that have been submitted over time so loading takes a few minutes.

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The Unsent Project Color Meaning

If your plan is to explore the messages by their color then you’ll need to understand what each color represents.

The messages are divided into eleven different colors: black, white, grey, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, pink, purple, and brown.


The Unsent Project Reveals Moving Text Messages People Never Sent (1)


Black symbolizes the feeling of darkness and despair that someone brought to you. This could be anything from a painful breakup to betrayal. If your message is dark it will likely have a black background.


White represents missing someone and wishing that things were still the same. If your unsent message shows how much you miss having someone in your life, it will be categorized as white.


Gray shows pain but understanding. If your message is categorized as gray there is a good chance that while you are upset, you’ve come to terms with the way things are.



Red displays an array of emotions but mostly thankfulness and love. It shows messages that contain hurt but also appreciation. Red is also the second most common color chosen by people who submit their messages.

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Orange is a bit of a curveball. Some of the messages show pain in a humorous way while some show it in a resentful way.


Yellow is less of a loss of love and more of a positive outlook.

I honestly can’t see why these messages were never sent because most of them are so nice and encouraging! It’s always a good idea to send a sweet text.


Green is more melancholy but hopeful. They all seem to have lost in love but most of them appear to have hope that things could still work their way out.



Blue is the most requested color and represents all forms of love. Based on the project, blue is the color people associate most with love. This could be because blue can represent happiness but is also used to show if someone is feeling "blue" or down.


Pink is most closely related to the feeling of trying your best and still not winning. A lot of us have gone through a relationship with someone where we gave it our all and got very little in return. Pink showcases those emotions.


Purple is another one that correlates pain with positivity. Some of the purple messages are just positive notes for others while some are positive twists on their pain.


Brown represents feelings that are a little less intense. The emotions are across the board, but they all seem to have a little less anger or resentment behind them.


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All of the colors are very similar in meaning in that they all express love. The colors are associated with the sender’s interpretation of the connection of color and love or loss.

So, what does all of this mean and why should you care?

It matters because it shows us that it is always better to express our feelings rather than unsend them. As long as it is a genuine expression of how that person has made you feel, send the text.


We can learn from the Unsent Project that even if we delete the text, we don’t delete the emotion attached to it.

If you send it and air out your emotions, you’ll never wonder "what if" or think to yourself, "if only they knew." You will be able to move forward with them or move on with yourself.

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Lindsey Matthews is a writer who covers love and relationships, news, and pop-culture.

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The Unsent Project Reveals Moving Text Messages People Never Sent (2024)


Is the unsent project completely anonymous? ›

The Unsent Project is a collection of over 1 million unsent text messages to first loves. Messages are submitted anonymously from people all over the world.

Can people see your unsent texts? ›

The recipient can read your message before you unsend it. If you unsend a message, it will disappear from the recipient's screen, but they'll be notified that you unsent it. Now that you know how it works, here's how to unsend a message: While in an iMessage conversation, tap and hold the message you want to unsend.

What do the colors mean in the unsent project? ›

In compiling the submissions, Rora has also discovered that most of us do associate our first love with a color. "In general, black messages are very sad, yellow are cute or funny, and blue have the widest range of emotion," Rora explains.

What happens to unsent text messages? ›

Unsending removes the message from your recipient's device. If you're sending messages to someone who isn't using iOS 16, iPadOS 16, macOS 13, or later, the original message remains in the conversation.

Is there a way to see a message someone unsent? ›

No, you can't read unsent Messenger messages within the app. You can, however, read them in your notifications or (if you're an Android user) in your Notification history.

Who runs the unsent project? ›

Rora Blue is an artist most known for her series The Unsent Project, an artistic endeavor centered on loneliness, angst, and yearning; users are encouraged to send in anonymous messages they wish they could send to their first love.

What does an unsent message look like on iMessage? ›

The message disappears and a notification that says "You unsent a message" appears. You can unsend an iMessage for up to two minutes after you send it.

Is unsent message visible? ›

Key Takeaways. Unsend for Everyone removes the message from the sender and recipient's chat. You can't recover unsent messages on Messenger. You can see unsent messages in your phone's notification history because the notification will not be unsent.

Can I read an unsent message on my iPhone? ›

The bad news is that you can't see an unsent message if you're using an iPhone running iOS 16 or higher (or an iPad operating iPadOS 16.1 or higher or a Mac computer with macOS 13 Ventura or higher). That would defeat the purpose of being able to unsend a message, after all, so it makes sense that Apple prevents this.

Is the unsent project American? ›

The 'Unsent Project', created by 19-year-old artist Rora Blue, from California, invited people to submit their unsent text messages as a kind of therapeutic way to get them out in some way. It's thought-provoking, if nothing else. What messages have you left unsent?

What is the unsent project archive? ›

The Unsent Project is a collection of unsent text messages to first loves. Search for your name or read submissions in the archive.

What apps can see unsent message? ›

You can use several methods to see unsent messages on Facebook Messenger including using third-party apps like mSpy, Notisave, Unseen Messenger, and Filterbox AI Notification Manager. You can also use notification history on Android and iPhone, Outbox of iPhone, and email notifications on your phone.

Can someone see an unsent text message? ›

Here are a few more things to keep in mind when unsending a message: You can only take back a message within two minutes of sending it. The recipient can read your message before you unsend it. If you unsend a message, it will disappear from the recipient's screen, but they'll be notified that you unsent it.

Where do unsent messages go? ›

On Android

Tap on it to open the menu. Scroll down and look for the “Drafts” folder and tap on it to see any unsent messages. If you completed writing an email and sent it, but it couldn't be sent due to an issue like bad network, you'll find it in the “Outbox” folder.

Are unsent messages permanently deleted? ›

You can permanently unsend a message that you've sent or just hide a message from your view. If you select Unsend for you, other people in the chat will still see the messages in their chat screen. If you select Unsend for everyone, people included in the chat won't be able to see the unsent message.

How to see unsent messages in mail? ›

Scroll down and look for the “Drafts” folder and tap on it to see any unsent messages. If you completed writing an email and sent it, but it couldn't be sent due to an issue like bad network, you'll find it in the “Outbox” folder.

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