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I have no idea what they call this so I'm not having much success with searching. But lets start with an example with this site:

http://www.pixeden.com/graphic-web-backgrounds/polygon-pattern-background
Image from pixden.com

Does anybody know how to create this and if it is possible in Adobe illustrator?

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I think you want to Google for 'Illustrator CS6 pattern options'. There's a powerful pattern tool added to this new version which will do exactly what you want it to. –  Bakabaka Feb 28 '13 at 15:25
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1 Answer 1

tutorial

You can now draw any shape and simply set the fill to the pattern you've created.

pattern

You can play with coloring and set up of the original triangle artwork to create additional variations.

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if you look closely at the example pattern that uses the triangle, you will see that there are actually two different triangles used. but that would be a small matter and your answer is much more efficient. +1 –  brnnnrsmssn Feb 28 '13 at 22:03
    
Actual coloring is irrelevant and can easily be changed. I was focusing on workflow. –  Scott Feb 28 '13 at 22:08
    
the bonus to doing it this way over mine is immense. initially you drastically save yourself time by not having to continuously repeat the shape manually. it also makes the future editing and management of the pattern vastly less complicated. –  brnnnrsmssn Feb 28 '13 at 23:39
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