I do a mixture, but far prefer intuition.
Each deck has its own “personality” in my experience.
“Death” in the Rider Waite deck I have is mostly about gentle transformation of the environment, moving on and leaving something behind, such as a change of seasons or an emotional burden and weight has been lifted. “Death” in my Night Sun tarot deck is about sudden destruction, more violence, and sometimes literal death. It’s very angry. “Death” in my Shadowscapes deck is about personal transformation, like leaving behind a personal shell, growing into a new person with new thoughts and ideas, its about revelation. All three are about change and transformation but in different ways. Sometimes I use multiple decks (tarot and oracle both) to give a full reading to someone, because some decks (ahem, Night Sun) can feel one-noted at times. Also, it’s hilarious the few times someone gets the exact same card multiple times (imagine how terrified someone’d be getting three towers. Rest in Peace).
Even then, some people also don’t read the “reverse” meanings of the cards. I always do, and in decks that don’t offer them, I create my own meaning. It’s a conversation, to me. The cards tell me, and I “translate” and I have to work together with the cards in order to know exactly what they’re trying to say.
I never use anyone else’s spreads. My go to is to just draw the cards and intuitively figure out if they want to go in a certain order or pattern. I have eventually curated loose “spreads” to more easily dissect cards, such as a “V” shaped spread to help tell two people (or entities) in a relationship reading, or a straight line of 3-6 cards in a row then two or three in a column at the end to indicate a pathway or branching road.
I only Sometimes refer to the books that each deck specifically came with, otherwise I cultivate my own meanings with a partnership regarding each deck.