It is advantageous to use biomaterials in tissue engineering that stimulate extracellular matrix (ECM) production by the cellular component. Connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) stimulates type I collagen (COL1A1) transcription, but is functionally limited as a free molecule. Using a matrix-binding domain (MBD) from microfibril-associated glycoprotein-1, the fusion protein MBD–CTGF was targeted to the ECM and tested for COL1A1 transcriptional activation. MBD–CTGF produced by the ECM-synthesizing fibroblasts, or provided exogenously, localized to the elastic fiber ECM. MBD–CTGF, but not CTGF alone, led to a two-fold enhancement of COL1A1 expression. This study introduces a targeting technology that can be used to elevate collagen transcription in engineered tissues and thereby improve tissue mechanics.