Ion irradiation induced phase transformations in three normal spinel compounds MgAl2O4, MgCr2O4 and ZnAl2O4 have been investigated by X-ray diffraction, Raman spectroscopy and Transmission Electron Microscopy. This work presents a unified framework to describe the radiation effects in normal spinels. Irradiation modifies the atomic and mesoscopic structures of theses spinels in different ways. At the atomic scale, it produces the inversion of the cations in the spinel structure which can always be described within its usual Fd-3m space group. At the mesoscopic scale, it produces microdomains, responsible for the important changes in the X-ray diffraction patterns.