Fré (Frederika) Cohen’s eye for drawing and design was quite apparent at an early age. A small ad for the company she worked for in her late teens was noticed by a publisher, who in 1922 offered her a part-time job as an illustrator. After designing a few book covers, she sought formal design education and received a grant to study at the art school in Amsterdam. Her talents were evident and her design career received a boost even before she finished her studies, when the city of Amsterdam hired her to design the municipal printed matter.
From 1929 and on, she designed many posters, calendars and other printed material. Her work was mostly in the art deco vein of the era. She also kept designing material for the Arbeiders Jeugd Centrale (the Dutch socialist youth movement), of which she was an early member.
In 1932, the economic depression caused her to lose her job, but she kept designing a variety of publications on a freelance basis.
After the invasion of Holland in 1940, it became too dangerous for her and her employers to sign her artwork with her real name, so she sometimes used Freco as a pseudonym. In 1943 she took her own life after her secret location was revealed.