Here is an attempt in taking the strip concept and making it a bit smaller and easier to assmble.
I moved all components to the top to allow automated assembly. If we use an assembly service anyways, we can switch all the passives to 0402 and save a lot of space. The VCC power rail is now routed on the rear side, while there is a large groundplane for GND on both sides of the PCB, that will also help with shielding.
This new arrangment allows reducing the strip width to 0.2". Each element is a single inverter with pull up at the input. Multiple inverters can be combined to form wide input NOR2 gates in RTL.
A base resistor bypass cap is added to improve switching speed. There is no space for a schottky clamp diode, but probably the parasitics of the wiring scheme on a breadboard will limit the achievable speed a bit anyways. Each element also has a decoupling capacitor.
Open and still unsolved: How to connect to the power lines?
Some more renders below.
Edit: One could also fit a clamping diode in there. But then the text has to be moved to the rear side. Second from left: