I know type wasn't the main product. I said selling "objects" in a store is harder than selling type online. They tried to leverage their sucess with type into chairs, pillows, etc. Which might have worked, had they not tried to operate the retail store themselves. The world is already full of neo-modern furniture and crap stores that could have sold stuff for them. But in the end, their objects really aren't that cool either.
Richie, you have a point, they are very "designy", but I think there are people who didn't go to design school who like that kind of stuff. AA can't be selling all their posters other designers. But you're right, they are by no means low-brow.
AA takes old stuff and reconfigures it into new stuff, like Chantry. They combine wit, meaning, often asymmetrical layouts, good typography, and visual balance to often create really cool posters. Maybe it takes design school to recognize these things, maybe not. They are generally lacking in skulls, flames, stretched and curved computer type, centered layouts, lack of negative space, and naked ladies, which seem to be the hallmark of much poster design.
Some people dig the designy approach, others like the skulls and centering. Its a matter of taste I suppose.