When I learned to do gold lettering with genuine gold leaf, I was taught in the traditional manner and I could immediately see ways it could be done, without any compromise to quality, but with more efficiency of material and time use. I printed the bounding lines first and gilded inside them. This left no chance to make the worst mistake of getting the gold under the outline color. It also improved the use of the material cutting waste and expense.
I have many examples of this work, some of which may be familiar to you. While reading the book "Gold Leaf Techniques" the author mentioned the problem of free ions on the surface of new glass. If these ions could be removed from the surface they would not complex themselves with the fats in the paint and become a chemical soap which would allow water vapor in and out of the paint lifting it off the glass. I contacted Pittsburgh Plate Glass chemists and they told me that Ammonium Bi-Flouride could be used to remove these ions. This process allows for better water gilding and gives the work a 100 year life.
I also saw that the traditional way of using the mirror and matte effects needed to her reversed so the lettering would remain full size and the centers could flash off and on from the reflections. This cured the problem of being attracted to look but not able to read the sign.